It’s important to remember that Martin Luther King Jr. had a lot more to say in his life than just his “I Have a Dream” speech:

Figures like President Barack Obama have reminded us that King once said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” But over time, the great orator’s writings became less magnanimous and ever more convinced that white supremacy was the most significant obstacle in attaining liberation for all black people.

In his final book, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, originally published in 1967, King wrote that “Whites, it must frankly be said, are not putting in a similar mass effort to reeducate themselves out of their racial ignorance. It is an aspect of their sense of superiority that the white people of America believe they have so little to learn. The reality of substantial investment to assist Negroes into the twentieth century, adjusting to Negro neighbors and genuine school integration, is still a nightmare for all too many white Americans.”

He continued: “These are the deepest causes for contemporary abrasions between the races. Loose and easy language about equality, resonant resolutions about brotherhood fall pleasantly on the ear, but for the Negro there is a credibility gap he cannot overlook. He remembers that with each modest advance the white population promptly raises the argument that the Negro has come far enough. Each step forward accents an ever-present tendency to backlash.”

By this point in his life, King had abandoned the rose-colored glasses of his youth. Instead, he was laser-focused on addressing white supremacy in its basest and most intimate forms: in communities, schools, and neighborhoods.

I happen to be of the opinion that we should remove marriage from the secular system entirely — that is, courts would merely deal with civil unions, which would be identical and impart identical rights to any couple, straight or gay — and let the churches handle marriage ceremonies for people who want them. If God doesn’t want same-sex couples to marry, then fine, let the churches bar their doors. But there is absolutely no reason why same-sex couples shouldn’t get all the same legal rights and privileges that heterosexual couples do.

Barring that solution, however, this is a good step forward:

State lawmakers are getting ready to introduce a bill allowing same-sex couples all the rights and benefits afforded to heterosexual married couples.

[…]

The measure makes changes to all remaining areas of state law where currently only married couples are addressed.

The bill would add same-sex domestic partners to state statutes ranging from labor and employment to criminal law, to pensions and other public employee benefits.

If we are to let the Bible define what “traditional marriage” should look like, then our marriage laws should be amended as such:

  1. Marriage in the United States shall consist of a union between one man and one or more women. (Gen 29:17-28; II Sam 3:2-5)

  2. Marriage shall not impede a man’s right to take concubines in addition to his wife or wives. (II Sam 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chron 11:21)

  3. A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed. (Deut 22:13-21)

  4. Marriage of a believer and a non-believer shall be forbidden. (Gen 24:3; Num 25:1-9; Ezra 9:12; Neh 10:30)

  5. Since marriage is for life, neither this Constitution nor the constitution of any State, nor any state or federal law, shall be construed to permit divorce. (Deut 22:19; Mark 10:9)

  6. If a married man dies without children, his brother shall marry the widow. If he refuses to marry his brother’s widow or deliberately does not give her children, he shall pay a fine of one shoe and be otherwise punished in a manner to be determined by law. (Gen 38:6-10; Deut 25:5-10)

  7. In lieu of marriage, if there are no acceptable men in your town, it is required that you get your dad drunk and have sex with him (even if he had previously offered you up as a sex toy to men young and old), tag-teaming with any sisters you may have. Of course, this rule applies only if you are female. (Gen 19:31-36)

(this particular incarnation by gladkov, via Daily Kos)

Since 9/11, there has been an increasing war on photography. Photographers have been harrassed, questioned, detained, arrested or worse, and declared to be unwelcome. We’ve been repeatedly told to watch out for photographers, especially suspicious ones. Clearly any terrorist is going to first photograph his target, so vigilance is required.

Except that it’s nonsense. The 9/11 terrorists didn’t photograph anything. Nor did the London transport bombers, the Madrid subway bombers, or the liquid bombers arrested in 2006. Timothy McVeigh didn’t photograph the Oklahoma City Federal Building. The Unabomber didn’t photograph anything; neither did shoe-bomber Richard Reid. Photographs aren’t being found amongst the papers of Palestinian suicide bombers. The IRA wasn’t known for its photography. Even those manufactured terrorist plots that the US government likes to talk about — the Ft. Dix terrorists, the JFK airport bombers, the Miami 7, the Lackawanna 6 — no photography.

Given that real terrorists, and even wannabe terrorists, don’t seem to photograph anything, why is it such pervasive conventional wisdom that terrorists photograph their targets? Why are our fears so great that we have no choice but to be suspicious of any photographer?

Because it’s a movie-plot threat.

…is perfectly legal. Not that this should be a big surprise, but after the City of Seattle settled a lawsuit with a photographer last year to the tune of $8,000, the Seattle Police Department is clarifying its policies.

The Seattle Police Department this week plans to issue a new policy clarifying when bystanders are within their rights to observe and document officer conduct and when they’re interfering with officers’ law enforcement duties, a department official told the City Council’s Public Safety Committee during a briefing Tuesday.

The new policy clearly reminds officers that bystanders have a right to watch or film officers making an arrest, as long as they don’t interfere or threaten their safety….

It also emphasizes that police can’t simply seize someone’s camera for video evidence without cause or court order and suggests alternative means of negotiating with the witness.

(via Seattlest)

International Women's Day Logo It’s International Women’s Day today.

International Women’s Day has been observed since in the early 1900’s, a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies.

The new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation feel that ‘all the battles have been won for women’ while many feminists from the 1970’s know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women’s visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.

However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. And so the tone and nature of IWD has, for the past few years, moved from being a reminder about the negatives to a celebration of the positives.

So make a difference, think globally and act locally !! Make everyday International Women’s Day. Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding.

So — hooray for women!

Meh. Not a happy thing.

Reports on the decision:

  • Washington Courts: Press Release

    This morning, the Washington Supreme Court issued a decision in Andersen v. King County, a consolidated case regarding Washington’s Defense of Marriage Act.

    The Court’s lead opinion was authored by Justice Barbara Madsen, holding the Washington Defense of Marriage Act does not violate the Washington State Constitution. This decision overturns trial court decisions in King and Thurston Superior Courts in this case.

  • Seattle PI: State’s high court upholds ban on gay marriage

    The state Supreme Court today upheld Washington’s law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, rejecting the argument of 19 same-sex couples that they’ve been unfairly denied the right to wed.

    In a splintered decision, Justice Barbara Madsen wrote that the state’s marriage law was enacted to “promote procreation and to encourage stable families.”

    “The legislature was entitled to believe that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples furthers the State’s legitimate interests in procreation and the well-being of children.”

  • Seattle Times: State Supreme Court upholds gay marriage ban

    The decision came as a sobering defeat for gays and their advocates, who’d hoped the court would strike down the so-named Defense of Marriage Act — DOMA — which restricts marriage to one man and one woman.

    Writing for a 5-4 majority, Justice Barbara Madsen said DOMA is constitutional because in establishing DOMA “the legislation was entitled to believe that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples furthers procreation, essential to the survival of the human race and furthers the well-being of children by encouraging families where children are reared in homes headed by children’s biological parents.”

    As such, DOMA does not violate the state Constitution’s privileges and immunities clause, which requires that any benefit granted to one group must be granted equally to all. “Allowing same sex couples to marry does not, in the legislature’s view, further these purposes,” she wrote.

It’s all about the children. Meh. What a crappy argument. Admittedly, I haven’t read the official arguments yet (the court documents are linked to in both newspaper articles), so maybe there’s a bit more to it than that, but from what the papers boil it down to…meh.

So marriage is about procreation and the survival of the human race? What about married couples who either cannot or choose not to have children? Does this mean that according to our state Supreme Court, it’s better to be in an unhappy, unfulfilling, loveless relationship that’s pumping out another child every ten months than it is to be in a happy, committed, healthy, loving relationship that happens to be childless?

And if we’re “encouraging families where children are reared in homes headed by children’s biological parents,” then shouldn’t we be outlawing adoption? Sorry, you had the kid, it’s better for the kid if you raise it, even if you’re a teenager, unable to support yourself, on drugs, or any number of other reasons why you might not want to raise the child you just bore. Don’t even get us started on gay couples adopting children!

Sorry gays. We don’t care if you love each other. You don’t have children, and marriage is all about the children, so you can’t get married.

Meh. What a stupid, weak, cowardly cop-out. I expected better.

Aaron Kyle Huff's weaponry (photo (c)2006 Greg Gilbert/The Seattle Times)

  • A semi-automatic assault rifle.
  • A pistol-grip shotgun.
  • An aluminum baseball bat.
  • A machete.
  • Over 300 rounds of ammunition.

All but the shotgun were recovered from Aaron Kyle Huff’s truck after the massacre on Capitol Hill; the shotgun is one similar to the one Huff used during the shooting. Not pictured is Huff’s semi-automatic handgun, also used in the attack.

All legal to own.

For God’s sake, why?!?

NRA members and “right to bear arms” wingnuts, feel free to brand me as a gun-control nut. I’m fine with that.

There is NO good reason why this sort of weaponry (specifically, the assault rifle and pistol-grip pump action shotgun…obviously, it’s a bit hard to get worked up over a baseball bat, and while I personally find a two foot machete pretty damn creepy, it’s nowhere near the same league as the guns) needs to be openly available to the general public. You want to hunt? Fine, hunt. Buy a hunting rifle and go slaughter as many deer as you want. But this kind of stuff?

Seattle Chief of Police Gil Kerlikowske has it right:

As many as 30 people were in the house when the man approached, draped in bandoliers of ammunition and armed with a handgun and a pistol-grip, 12-gauge shotgun — a weapon Kerlikowske pointedly said was “not for hunting purposes, but for hunting people.”

What actually happened was bad enough. It makes me ill to consider what could have happened if a police officer hadn’t been in the area and on the scene after only five minutes of shooting.